Visual Thinking 101_17 Why do letters move?

How do letters move on the page? How do letters move in your mind’s eye? Maybe only visual thinkers have got the skill to do this. But why do they do it?

When I first started working with dyslexic students 23 years ago, some told me that letters moved on the page. Some felt positively sick. I read a piece of research that said, the more stressed a child gets the faster the letters move until they look like rivers or fall off the page all together. My visual thinking brain, had 2 lightbulb moments:

  • What happens when you do the opposite and help the student reduce their stress? And to my amazement the letters stopped moving!
  • If the letters are moving on the page, what are they doing in the students’ mind’s eye? The answer was often dancing around and changing places.

So I now had a model for stopping letters moving, that any child could learn in minutes, without medication or additional glasses/colored overlays; just a little practice. The secret was simply to reduce the child’s stress levels, here are a few tips:

  • Firstly breathing in and out gently through your nose, right down into your belly, will slow your brain and create relaxation. The movement of letters will slow down.
  • Secondly feel grounded, firmly connected to the earth. With a little practice letters will stop moving.
  • When you have learned to visualise words, literacy will become so much easier, and this in itself will improve your confidence and create more relaxation.
  • Look up and don’t look down. Looking down engages your emotions and that nasty self talk many have that says “I can’t do this”. When you look up you will be in your visual field and avoiding emotions. So if you are trying to read, don’t put the material flat on the table, move it so that you are slightly looking up, like how proficient reader access a newspaper or a book
  • For those who are interested in neuroscience, these 3 tips will re-engage your frontal cortex which is the policeman for martialing clarity of through.

You will find more information about sleep, breathing and grounding on my YouTube channel here:

If you would like to know more about how this all works, do join one of my free on-line live classes, Ready for a new strategy for Dyslexia. Just click the link below.

For all available resources, look up When building on skills and encouraging creativity you will find their strengths increase and learning difficulties reduce.

Click above to book your place now at one of the free coaching sessions.

My name is Olive Hickmott, I am a health and learning coach, specialising in working with neurodivergent students. I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me
Here you will find my learning platform for some of my training programmes and free live webinars
You will find other useful information and Practitioner Training at
Here is my YouTube channel for more free resources:
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of Mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#olivehickmott #visualthinking #empoweringlearning #neurodivergent #mentalimagery #mindseye #lettersmoving #Dyslexia #breathing #grounding


About olivehickmott

I am a Forensic Learning coach, showing people how they can improve their own learning and change their health. Working with creative neurodivergent students is a joy, as they learn new skills to overcome many of their learning challenges.
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